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#1 of 23 Old 09-12-2010, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so here we are. not even into week 1 fully. dd got back to school last week.

but the problem came when i found that a few of her friends from the prek class did not move up with her. then two of the children who were in kindergarten last year were deemed not ready to progress and guess what? they are back in kindergarten for year two in dd's class. i am worried. what's this about?

i talked with another parent and she said that all hell usually breaks loose surrounding such situations and i can understand why. with the waldorf style of education, it seems as though hey are locked into this method until grade 4 or so when the are on par with traditional styles of learning.

i am going to talk with her teacher because even another concerned parent, whose dd was held back in prek, asked me if i thought dd would go on to grade 1 next year. my feeling is yes, she will because if she's not there at this school, she will be elsewhere in grade 1.

what do you all think? has anyone had experience with such things happening at their school?

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#2 of 23 Old 09-13-2010, 07:05 AM
 
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No, never heard of that. Talk to the relevant teachers if you're concerned.
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#3 of 23 Old 09-13-2010, 10:49 AM
 
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I've heard of that happening quite a bit on some of the more, ahem, critical Waldorf websites and discussion threads. I don't personally know of any instances in real life. I read these a few years ago, so details are sketchy in my head, but I seem to remember that the explanation usually involves the karmic needs of the child. One almost funny story that I read someplace (keep in mind this is the internet and anyone can say anything whether it's true or not, but it does seem an odd story to make up) involved the teachers feeling that the child had grown too tall, and thus needed to be held back to even things out.

There's a thread floating around the Personal Growth forum that I believe is called Life After Waldorf. It's very long, but there might be some similar stories in there that can help you.

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#4 of 23 Old 09-13-2010, 10:52 AM
 
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At our school this seems common in early childhood classes through the kindy years. Once in first grade kids seem to move ahead every year as a group. In early childhood years there is such a wide range of developmental stages and each child has their own pace. I think at our school it is seen as a positive; trying to meet each child's needs before they enter the grades. For instance, there is a lot of overlap between nursery and kindy years. Kindy is age 4-6 with many kids going two or even three years (it's half day).
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#5 of 23 Old 09-13-2010, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm going to have to look at the Life After Waldorf thread. this has me a bit unnerved. we've had a good run there. one of the main reasons that i left her was that she liked it and had made some great friends.

some of those friends didn't move with her though and that has me sad. then some kids carried over from last year's group and that has me wondering about what is the magic cutoff date for grade 1.

i just know myself and i know what my response will be if my dd is in the predicament of being held in kindergarten an extra year. i don't want people to see me in that light, so i think i will have to talk to someone to clear this up early on...

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#6 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 12:47 AM
 
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My dd is in grade 1 this year. I know of a few kids who have stayed an 'extra' year in Kindy--they met the cutoff date (6 by June 1st) for grade 1 but were not advanced. In all of the cases I know of the decision not to advance was mutual between teachers/school and parents. In dd's Kindy class last year, there was one child out of 15 that was doing an 'extra' year. I can think of 3 in grade 1 who are older.

When is your child's birthday in relation to the cutoff date? At our school, the closer to the cutoff date, the more likely it seems for a child to not advance.
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#7 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 09:03 AM
 
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I think that is pretty common for early childhood and kindergarten. I know at our school the EC class is 3-5 and K is 4-6. My DS is 4.5 and we wound up putting him in the EC class, partly because we wanted 3 day versus 5 day and partly because they felt like that's where he would fit in best since the K had a lot of older children this year (most of them were 5 turning 6, I think some of them possibly in their 2nd year of K?). I felt like we had a choice about it though, not that they were saying he couldn't be in K but that they felt from the few times they met him and when looking at the kids in the classes that it was the right place for him to be in EC.

I don't know how often kids get "held back" but I think that a lot of it is a parent's choice thing too. I'm new to all of this, but I got the impression that it was kind of normal for kids to do 2 years in either EC or K before moving on, and IIRC the K teacher even told me about a student who once did 3 years of K. I also got the impression that part of it is the idea that Waldorf doesn't rush the academic side of things, so if a child didn't seem ready to cross over to 1st grade, it wasn't an issue of being held back in a negative way, just giving the child the time they needed to be ready.
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#8 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 09:07 AM
 
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I think it is a great thing to look at each individual child and make a decision about where they are and what they need, instead of just moving kids along because they have btdt. Why does it concern you?
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#9 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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I could have written this post only I would have titled it, Why we left the Waldorf School. My DD was in the pre-k class, she is very tall, very articulate and mature for her age. She was not going to be put ahead because she had not lost any baby teeth.

"The change of teeth is a visible, tangible sign of this work. The inherited milk teeth are literally pushed out by the permanent teeth. The child’s etheric forces have done their intense physical work, and can now be freed to help the child’s soul and spirit, with thinking and memory.

This is the wisdom behind Waldorf schools generally waiting until age 6 or so for children to leave kindergarten, so that the child is developmentally ready to begin formalized learning. (Other physical signs of first grade readiness may include the limbs lengthening and the head being in a smaller proportion to the body, the narrowing of the ribcage, the appearance of arches in the feet, and changes in the heart and respiration rates. There are many developmental signposts as well.) "

While I understand this is the purists approach to the Waldorf education I felt my child would not be served well by staying in the pre-k/k setting. She is now in public school and an accelerated learner who is still significantly physically larger then all of her classmates.

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#10 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 11:38 AM
 
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I'd do a little research (if you haven't already!) into Waldorf 1st-grade readiness. It's different than other approaches, and only you can decide what works for you and your child.

I'm a homeschooler, but I agonized over doing a second year of kindy or going to 1st grade with my oldest son, who turned 6 in August. I read lots about Steiner's theories about the 7-year cycles and found that his approach resonated with me, so we're doing a second year of Kindy with T.

I think that the change of teeth is really important, as is the ability to reach over the head and touch the opposite ear. The lengthening of limbs, the disappearance of the baby-buddha-belly. My child has marked some of these changes...he's lost two teeth, his limbs have lengthened and his belly is flat, but he's still very much a child who is incarnating. Having 7 Easters is a great rule-of-thumb for 1st grade readiness, too.

Now, two years ago, I would have read the above and dismissed myself as nuttier than an October squirrel, but now it makes sense to me. Maybe the parents of the children involved are totally on board with where their children have been placed....they are still students at the school, no? I wouldn't worry too much about your DD being 'held back' next year, but do prepare yourself by doing some reading about Anthroposophy and understanding what the foundation for recommendations from the staff will be. Then you will be in an excellent place to know that this Waldorf thing either really works for you or really doesn't.

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#11 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by henny penny View Post
At our school this seems common in early childhood classes through the kindy years. Once in first grade kids seem to move ahead every year as a group. In early childhood years there is such a wide range of developmental stages and each child has their own pace. I think at our school it is seen as a positive; trying to meet each child's needs before they enter the grades. For instance, there is a lot of overlap between nursery and kindy years. Kindy is age 4-6 with many kids going two or even three years (it's half day).
Similiar to my experiences as well. In fact most children did two years of Nursery and two of Kindy. Some a third of one or the other.

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I think it is a great thing to look at each individual child and make a decision about where they are and what they need, instead of just moving kids along because they have btdt. Why does it concern you?
I agree, and was also confused as to what is concerning you? In my experience they move the kids around in the early childhood, but unless there is something else going on, once they go to First they stay together. There is a spring "cut off" date, for First Grade, that seems to be stuck to, which just a few exceptions of children who fall closely on either side of it getting more careful consideration by their teachers and parents. I don't have a student near these dates so I can't speak first-hand, but I can say second-hand that no one viewed it as being "held back" or anything negative. It is quite typical. It is not about how long they have been there, rather how ready they are to leave.
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#12 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it sounds fine. however, this does not appear to be a mutual decision between the teachers and parents. one of the children's parents was visibly angry and expressed herself as such. and to be honest, i can't say that my reaction would differ greatly from hers.

MammaG, your take on it sounds very sensible to me. those milestones are definitely something that you can put a finger on. thank you for that.

i think once i know what the school's guideline is for moving along, i will be better suited to see if this path still suits my dd's needs.

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#13 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 02:51 PM
 
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I can't comment about Waldorf readiness but it is very, very common for some children to not advance at various points in their preschools/kindy at all kinds of school. It could be for a vast number of reasons. Our school had fully a quarter of the students not advance this year and they opened a developmental kindergarten year for them. Usually it is at the parent's request; sometimes it is the school's suggestion that the parents agree with. If there is a delay of some sort parents want to try and resolve it early.

I think it is reasonable to discuss it with the school or the other parents though.
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#14 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by frolick16 View Post
"The change of teeth is a visible, tangible sign of this work. The inherited milk teeth are literally pushed out by the permanent teeth. The child’s etheric forces have done their intense physical work, and can now be freed to help the child’s soul and spirit, with thinking and memory.

This is the wisdom behind Waldorf schools generally waiting until age 6 or so for children to leave kindergarten, so that the child is developmentally ready to begin formalized learning. (Other physical signs of first grade readiness may include the limbs lengthening and the head being in a smaller proportion to the body, the narrowing of the ribcage, the appearance of arches in the feet, and changes in the heart and respiration rates. There are many developmental signposts as well.) "
Astounded.
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#15 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 04:08 PM
 
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Astounded.
That teachers would look so individually at a child beyond just the date they were born, to see developmental readiness?

And as for the teeth, I think it varies by school (or teacher?) and is just one indicator. There are some kids who lost teeth at age 5, they didn't put them in to First Grade! When my eldest was in First, he didn't loose his first tooth until June. He was ready in all other areas, and did fine. It's just one of many things they look at.
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#16 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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I guess my issue was my dd met all the other physical milestones except the teeth, and she was and is huge...and to pay that much money for another year of school...but I was in no way a purist and parted ways with many Waldorf practices so the school would have never been a good fit.

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#17 of 23 Old 09-14-2010, 08:28 PM
 
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The loss of teeth criterion must vary by school. My dd has not lost any teeth, nor are any very loose, and she was advanced to 1st grade. Our family looses teeth late. I was very upfront when we started Kindy and got their assurances that dd would not be held back for that alone. And (thankfully!) she wasn't.
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#18 of 23 Old 09-15-2010, 12:22 AM
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each school is wholly independent and community based. so, how the various methods of waldorf education are applied vary widely. how steiner is applied varies widely.

within anthroposophy, there are "streams of thought." that is to say, there are commonalities--steiner's basic lectures, anthroposophical elements in general--but then there are different interpretations and applications within the community itself. and when you get down the the level of an actual school, you're talking about a very specific group of people--the board, the teachers, and the families involved.

while these elements about teeth, limbs, etc will demonstrate readiness from an anthroposophical perspective, there may be many many others that the teachers use, or that the teachers disregard.

for my own part, i simply look at it as a partnership. if what the teacher or school is asserting to me is not what i see as functional, then it's appropriate to move on to another school or what have you.

since i am focused on unschooling with waldorf/anthroposophic influences, i'm not terribly worried per se about what schools are doing, but we do keep our options open and have opted to put him on the waiting list of the local schools. it is yet to be determined whether or not we will utilize these schools or what have you. but we like to have our options wide open.

which means also being open to walking away if it's not a great fit with that particular school.
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#19 of 23 Old 09-16-2010, 12:35 AM
 
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Similiar to my experiences as well. In fact most children did two years of Nursery and two of Kindy. Some a third of one or the other.


I agree, and was also confused as to what is concerning you? In my experience they move the kids around in the early childhood, but unless there is something else going on, once they go to First they stay together. There is a spring "cut off" date, for First Grade, that seems to be stuck to, which just a few exceptions of children who fall closely on either side of it getting more careful consideration by their teachers and parents. I don't have a student near these dates so I can't speak first-hand, but I can say second-hand that no one viewed it as being "held back" or anything negative. It is quite typical. It is not about how long they have been there, rather how ready they are to leave.

:
I actually thought 2 years of kindi was more the norm.We even discussed it at our school interview last year. I am fully expecting my daughter to have 2 years to enjoy being a kid and then not move up to 1st grade until she is 7, but I completely trust in her wonderful kindi teachers and will go with whatever they think would be best for her.

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#20 of 23 Old 09-16-2010, 03:37 AM
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here, for waldorf, kindy is age 3-6. in other schools, it's 3-5 or 6. most kids will start schooling at age 7 in waldorf, at age 6 or 7 in public school.
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#21 of 23 Old 09-16-2010, 05:38 PM
 
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here, for waldorf, kindy is age 3-6. in other schools, it's 3-5 or 6. most kids will start schooling at age 7 in waldorf, at age 6 or 7 in public school.
Yeah, if my daughter stays in the 2 years of kindi she'll be starting 1 grade around her 7th birthday but we'll see what the teachers think

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#22 of 23 Old 09-16-2010, 07:54 PM
 
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Yeah, if my daughter stays in the 2 years of kindi she'll be starting 1 grade around her 7th birthday but we'll see what the teachers think
Mine too. Our school does the grade one readiness assessments at the end of the kindergarten year. I'd totally be down with a second year of kindy; actually, I would have thought long and hard about putting her in kindergarten at age five if the second year wasn't an option.

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#23 of 23 Old 09-17-2010, 02:34 AM
 
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Dd did 3 years of kindy and began first grade after being 7 for 2 months. Last year it was hard to see her "stay back" she is very tall and very verbal and her non-Waldorf friends are a grade ahead of her. But now she has friends in the two grades above her and is comfortable socializing with friends who are not in her class.

I saw the wisdom of "waiting" last year when she really gained a deep seated desire to learn and was very motivated. I also trusted her kindy teacher's assessment. She has begun first grade eager and excited. There is another girl in her class who would be in 3rd grade at public school - we also saw her blossom and come into her own last year. She would have been lost if age alone were the criteria for first grade readiness.

The "being held back" phrase is not helpful. It is a gift to your child to let them have a childhood and develop at their own pace, not yours. Your child's age when entering first grade is not a reflection on your parenting

So my dd will turn 18 the summer before her senior year. This is not a bad thing. I taught high school and I saw the huge maturity difference in the 17 year old seniors vs. the 18 year old seniors.

And really, now that Im facing 40, Id rather have one more year of kindergarten than one extra year of working
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